Louisville residents may want to know about a new form of immunotherapy that has been shown to be effective in treating malignant pleural mesothelioma. CAR T-cell therapy involves a laboratory reprogramming of a patient’s T cells, a certain type of white blood cell, so that they attack a surface protein in the cancer called mesothelin.

A phase I clinical trial involving genetically engineered T cells in pleural mesothelioma patients had begun in 2015. The primary investigator of these trials, a thoracic surgeon with the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, presented his results at the American Association for Cancer Research in March 2019. It appears that the therapy could significantly extend mesothelioma survival.

The study involved 21 pleural mesothelioma patients receiving different combinations of treatments in addition to the CAR T-cell therapy. Some received a drug blocking interactions with a protein called PD-1 that prevents the immune system from attacking cancer cells. Others received cyclophosphamide, which is used in chemotherapy.

Eight of the 11 who received all three treatments saw their tumors shrink, and two had a complete metabolic response. Overall, 13 of the 21 participants experienced positive results. Moreover, the clinical trial showed little sign that the CAR T-cell therapy would be toxic. The results are promising because the solid tumors of mesothelioma were long considered too challenging for a treatment like CAR T-cell therapy.

Mesothelioma frequently develops through long-term exposure to products containing asbestos. The U.S. has not completely banned the use of this mineral, so people are still at risk for developing the cancer. Those who believe that the makers of a product containing asbestos are to blame for their condition may consider filing a claim. This is where hiring a lawyer who handles mesothelioma-related cases might be a good idea. Victims may leave it to their lawyer to gather proof and negotiate for a settlement.